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Plato survives late dramas to take pole position at Oulton Park

Saturday, June 06 2015

Jason Plato hung on to claim pole position for tomorrow's rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park today (Saturday), despite attacks from Matt Neal and Andy Priaulx, and a brief brake fire near the end of the session.

As is customary, the rear-wheel-drive cars spent the early moments getting heat into their tyres on the track, so it was no surprise to see Rob Collard leading the session, but moments later the MG of Andrew Jordan topped the times whilst the BMR VWs gathered speed.

Predictably Plato went quickest, but he was immediately shaded by Jordan and Gordon Shedden's Honda, the former now lapping under 1:26 seconds. But then Plato went a tenth faster than he had all day to retake provisional pole.

Next, Matt Neal's Honda shaded Jordan to take second place, but he was immediately overhauled by Andy Priaulx, who had closed the gap to Plato to 16 hundredths of a second. Following this flurry of activity, there was a brief calm in proceedings, before Plato returned to the track to consolidate his position.

Plato's first flying lap in his second stint found him an extra tenth, and the next another few hundredths, to extend the gap to a quarter of a second. However, Neal reined almost all of this in with a storming lap in the Civic Type R and Plato's worries were compounded when, having been stopped for technical checks on his return to the pitlane, his brakes caught fire, leaving him delayed in the BMR garage towards the end of the session.

Meanwhile Priaulx was on a hot lap, but he missed out on pole by six hundredths to stay third. There were late improvements from Shedden to take fifth, Aron Smith, who ended up seventh, and Jack Goff, who only had two attempts to post a fast lap and took eighth place. But Plato retained the pole position, with arch-rival Neal on the front row and a potentially fast-starting Priaulx third. All three qualified within a tenth of each other.

Plato said: "It was a really exciting session, wasn't it? That was a very good scrap for pole there; I knew where our pace was, and that's where it is. I had a sneaky suspicion about the Hondas, they don't usually come out of the box that quick." Commenting on his brake fire he said: "This is what happens - round here is a brake circuit and if you come in and go on the scales then you're in trouble."

BTCC race one will take place at 12:17 tomorrow. Click here to view the full session result.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Qualifying
1, Jason Plato, Team BMR, VW CC, 1:25.484s
2, Matt Neal, Honda Racing, Civic Type R, +0.011s
3, Andy Priaulx, WSR, BMW 125i M-Sport, +0.071s
4, Andrew Jordan, MG 888 Racing, MG6 GT, +0.453s
5, Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing, Civic Type R, +0.453s
6, Colin Turkington, Team BMR, VW CC, +0.492s
7, Aron Smith, Team BMR, VW CC, +0.508s
8, Jack Goff, MG 888 Racing, MG6 GT, +0.540s
9, Tom Ingram, Speedworks, Toyota Avensis, +0.623s
10, Adam Morgan, WIX Racing, Mercedes A-Class, +0.637s

Raceday tickets for the BTCC at Oulton Park on Sunday 7 June are available on the gate for £32, with free entry for children under 13. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.